Last week, I was riding along when a gunshot went off. Well, it wasn’t a gunshot, it was my rear tire. The casing had violently blown out. With the nearest road 10 miles away, walking wasn’t an option.
After unleashing a torrent of obscenities, cursing everyone but myself, it was time to MacGyver my way out of this mess. If you’re ever in a similar situation, here are six tips that have helped me limp home.
1. Help work the sealant into place
Normally, punctures are pretty small. If you’re lucky, you can spin or shake your tire to help the sealant work faster. You can also try holding your wheel so the sealant pools near the puncture. Spending a few extra seconds trying to get your sealant working is way easier than dealing with a tube. Also note that tire sealant eventually dries out. So as part of your regular maintenance routine, check your sealant and top off as needed.
2. Super Glue
Another option for small punctures or tears is super glue. The key is prepping the surface area. The exterior of the tire should be as clean and dry as possible before applying the glue.
3. Tubeless tire repair kit
If the puncture won’t seal, a tubeless repair kit is the fastest and easiest option. This tool allows you to manually insert a plug into the puncture. The best part is you don’t have to remove the wheel or tire to insert a plug. Once in, they last forever. The kits can be a little pricey, but they’re absolutely worth the cost of entry, especially if you’re racing.
Don’t want to drop coin on the real thing? You can make your own tubeless tire repair kit out of a poker (a spoke works perfectly) and a strip of rag. It’s not quite as easy to use, but it works.
4. QR skewer as a tire lever
I can normally remove and install a fresh tire with my hands. It’s a point of pride. But there are some rim/tire combos that are just evil. If you’re in a similar situation and don’t have a tire lever handy, you can use the edge of a quick release skewer. Just be careful, as you could scratch up your rim.
5. Energy gel wrapper tire boot
In my case, the hole in my casing was too large for conventional repairs. To save me a long walk home, I stuffed a food wrapper in my tire. You could use whatever you have handy, like a dollar bill or even duct tape. If you’re a former Boy Scout, you could even carry a small section of an old tire for this purpose. Just make sure whatever you use, it’s not too thick.
Once the boot is in place, reseat the tire around the rim, then continue to work your way around. You need to make sure the patch stays firmly in place. As you inflate your tire, keep a close eye on the boot. You want to run only enough pressure to roll home, otherwise it may bulge out.
6. Fill your tire with leaves
And if all else fails, try filling your tires with leaves. I’ve never actually resorted to this trick. I’d rather just ride out the flat tire and walk when needed, but I have seen it done. It’s not fun, but it will help protect your rim.
What are you tricks and tips for dealing with a slashed tire? Let us know in the comments section below.
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